Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Sharing a moment with a local on the way to Atlas Trading in the Bokaap                                                                      Mans

Part of being an urban hunter-gatherer, is hunting down jolly fine outlets from which to buy your chow. Supermarkets are not my favourite places. I do acknowledge that they are annoyingly convenient and that I do frequent them - boooo, for me. When I walk out of supermarket, there usually isn’t a spring in my step, however there are other more charming options out there, where you can get quality produce for a good price and leave all bouncy and smiley, wotz more; you don’t end up with a mound of horrible, ugly, ugly packaging. Wherever you live these spots are out there, you just have to hunt them down.

Lucy filming in Atlas, with 'The Dood' lurking            Mans
There is massive range of spices at Atlas                       Mans
In Cape Town two of my favourite spots are Atlas Trading and Fargo Trading; I buy all my spices, pulses, grains, nuts, dried fruit and a whole bunch of other stuff from these two places. I first came across Atlas Trading when I was living in the Bokaap. It’s on Wale Str above Buitengracht Str, on the right, as you head up the hill. It’s a beautiful and nostalgic experience when you visit Atlas. You order at one window, pay at the next and then collect at the dispatch counter. Your goodies are usually scooped from wooden tea chests and poured into brown paper bags, which in the blink of an eye are folded skilfully and snugly by some dude. After a sneaky snack on the way home, never have I quite managed to reseal the packet of dried mangos/pistachios as neatly and tightly as ‘The Dood’ does, so I always get bust. Sometimes the goodies you buy can take on a generic incense smell, which is all charming and romantic, but there are times it would be better if it weren’t there. It’s worthwhile to ask for a little taste of what you are going to buy, just to check, that it hasn’t been lying at the bottom of a tea chest for too long. This place, I love.

On Malta Road in Salt River is Fargo Trading, this is the spot I go to most. Once you manage to wrestle past the thick plastic strips that cover the entrance you’ll find an authentic shop with a huge variety of quality products at very good prices. Just remember to ignore the white packets of MSG and go for the other stuff, like their thick rolled oats, the ones I just can’t seem to get anywhere else, coz these days every damn thing has to be instant, so only ‘thinly rolled’ are what’s on supermarket selves. Fargo’s chuncky oats are perfect for my ‘Damn Fine Granola’ recipe.

Yipppeee, Fargo has got oats that aren't instant                                                                                                                      Mans
For fresh produce, there is The Salt River Market’, which is pretty much off Salt River Circle, by the time you have driven a few times around the circle, you’d have figured it out. The regular fruit and veg, isn’t always a good deal though. It’s the stuff that’s just come into season, that I like to buy, like beautiful cress, rocket and asparagus and all for a good price. It’s also the spot to get unusual and exotic fruit and veg. ‘Fancy foodie stuff’ like, duck and quail eggs are also a volleyball, if it’s not here, you probably won’t find it in Cape Town. They are the same traders that have a stand at the Biscuit Mill on Saturday mornings. So remember they are just down the road from the Biscuit Mill and are open every weekday.  

A bit of banter at The Salt River Market                                                   Mans
It's gotta be autumn, coz there're pomegranates                                          Mans
After visiting any of these three spots, carrying you bags and boxes of goodies from the car to the kitchen won’t feel like the worst chore on the planet.

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